Fluid Boundaries: The Interplay of Water, Art, Science, and Indigenous Knowledge Systems brings together participants from South Africa, Brazil and Switzerland in a transdisciplinary collaboration situated at the intersection of art, science and indigenous knowledge with a strong focus on decolonial practice.

By creating a common space for the exploration of water – and the flow of knowledges, wisdoms and practices around this life-sustaining element – the programme integrates questions and methods from different disciplinary and cultural perspectives. The Fluid Boundaries project aims to question the entrenched power paradigms and knowledge flow direction inherent in the sciences and the arts by disrupting the false dichotomy of centre and periphery.

Water is an essential resource for life on Earth, and a key element in the history and contemporary of all cultures. Stories and myths about water, reverence towards its spiritual meanings, policies and strategies linked to its politics, and processes and technologies of its uses and applications, may be traced across times and geographies. Within the sector of water there are many commonalities, but there are also significant divergencies of contexts, indigenous knowledge systems and practices.

It is these very different and highly complex experiences that serve as the entangled starting point of our proposed project.  The various, unpredictable threats to humanity inflicted by the climate crisis add to the urgency of our multi-perspectival approach. Our project proposes a research and practice driven approach, emphasizing processes, that brings together arts and science to interrogate how we feel, think and act about our relationships to water, in a bid to create sustainable, equitable access.

The project brings together artists and scientists through 3-months art-science residencies in research labs in the respective partner countries. This process will be informed, mentored, questioned and supported by indigenous knowledge convenors and the curators.
At a later point, the participants will come together in an intense 2-week workshop situation in Lugano, Switzerland. Within this context(s), knowledge will be shared, research questions discussed and ideas for artistic projects developed.

Interested artists from South Africa, Brazil and Switzerland may apply for one of the 3-month art-science residencies starting in March 2025 at the scientific partner institutions in their home country. The project aims to bring the artist into contact with both a physical laboratory and an intellectual space to provide a creative environment for substantial transdisciplinary work. In every aspect and phase of the project, the reciprocal sharing of one’s own practice and perspective on an eye-to-eye level is an important prerequisite for the success of the collaboration.


Please visit https://www.fluidboundaries.org/